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Parasites to Blame for Autism? | The Essential Guide To Autism

Parasites to Blame for Autism?

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Maybe no two topics go together these days like controversy and autism. The fact that medical science is completely in the dark about the cause of autism, as well as any cure, makes for a perfect breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Tales of fluoride in the water, a la Dr. Strangelove, and inoculation poisoning have become the stuff of legend with many parents definite about the link to autism. One possible cause that many prescribe to is the presence of a parasite. While there is little to no evidence that this may be the case, let’s take a look at why so many people think that this might just be the cause.

• Hearsay – The Internet has quickly become one of the greatest resources in human history. It can bring people together from across the world instantly and more effectively than any other form of communication. But it can also be a huge source of misinformation. A quick Google search reveals that approximately one doctor believes that a combination of lead or mercury poisoning and a parasite could be the cause of autism. He recommends getting a mechanical device called a “clicker” that is reported to kill parasites inside the body. In what seems to be the only “case” of this working that has been passed around Internet chat rooms and message boards like a mutant game of Telephone, a young boy was cured of autism with a four month treatment regimen involving this “clicker” and shots of amino acids. Of course, there is no real proof given, no media stories on this miracle cure and no follow up. This story has all the making of a classic Internet tall tale.

• The Power of Positive Thinking – Every parent, when presented with the reality that their child has a lifelong, debilitating disorder like autism, tend to grasp for any possible hope they can. And who can blame them? Most parents, myself included, would probably do exactly the same thing. This is why most conspiracy theories, including parasites causing autism, survive and flourish. Every parent wants to believe that their child’s condition has an easy cure, we just haven’t found it yet. The power of positive thinking rationalizes that if we wish hard enough and long enough, a simple and reversible cause of autism can be found.

• Hope – This ties into the reason stated above. Every parent needs hope. These bogus theories allow parents to cling to the idea that their child can and will recover and that autism can be overcome. It’s human nature, but it’s also detrimental to provide false hope and to not be living in reality.

As long as the human spirit is alive, theories like these will flourish. Autism is a scary, confusing and mind-numbing reality to have to deal with. It’s comforting to think that the condition really isn’t permanent and that that intelligent, happy and “normal” child that is locked inside the prison that autism creates can and will be let out. Until an ironclad cause for autism is put forth by the medical community, theories like these will only get more common.

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